We can’t wave a magic wand to shrink your ironing mountain into a molehill, but our ironing hacks will help you get the job done a bit quicker so you can get on with doing something more fun (like cleaning the loo or colour coding your undies...)
Let’s cut that ironing pile right down
The key to minimising the time you spend ironing is to not let creases get a look in in the first place. That means giving wet clothes a shake when you take them out of the washing machine and hanging them to dry as straight as possible. If you’re hanging a sheet or duvet cover on a rotary line and can’t fit it all on, fold it first. For shirts, hang them on a clothes hanger to dry, rather than over a line.
If you use the tumble dryer (which most of us do thanks to the good old British weather), try to take clothes out as soon as they’re dry.
You can also use your tumble dryer to get creases out of dry clothes and bed linen. Pop the clothes in the dryer and spritz a little bit of water over them, or wet your fingers and flick the water over the clothes. Put the dryer on a warm setting for 10 minutes and take the clothes out as soon as it’s finished.
Sadly, you’re still going to have a few things left to iron, which brings us on to...
9 steps to becoming an ironing wiz
- First off, check for stains before you start ironing. There are few things in life more irritating than ironing something only to discover it needs to go back in the wash.
- If it does need washing, use a fabric conditioner like Comfort to minimise creases. This is especially good for large items such as bedding which can often take longer to iron.
- Choose the right temperature for the material. Most irons say which setting to use for which type of material. As a general rule of thumb, cotton and linen can take a hot setting, while silk, synthetics and delicates need a cooler temperature. Do check the care label just to be on the safe side.
- Steam ironing gets creases out a lot easier than dry ironing, but it isn’t suitable for some delicate fabrics.
- It can take time for the iron to heat up and cool down, so sort your ironing pile before you start to make sure you’re ironing similar fabrics in one go.
- Iron delicates first so you don't have to wait while your iron adjusts to the right temperature, and then increase the temperature as you move onto other fabrics.
- Most materials are easier to iron while slightly damp, so give them a light spritz of water before you start.
- Use a well-padded ironing board and avoid ironing over zips and buttons, as bumps leave marks.
- Keep your iron clean.
Handy hacks for ironing tricky items
Some things take mere minutes to iron. You can whizz over them while flicking through Netflix, chatting to a friend and drinking a cuppa. In short, they’re the no brainers of the ironing world. Other items are a good bit trickier, but with a bit of practice (and the tips you’re about to read), you’ll be an ironing pro in no time.
How to iron a duvet cover
Most of us can iron a pillowcase without too much trouble, but duvet covers are a lot trickier. There’s just so much material. To stop it all spilling out on the floor, move the ironing board so it’s next to your dining table, lengthways. Fold your duvet cover in half and half again, lengthways, so it’s long, but thin enough to fit on your board. Start ironing at one end, with the rest of the material hanging down towards your feet. Smooth the folded duvet across the board as you iron it in sections, laying the ironed part on the dining table in front of you so it doesn’t get recreased. You may need to then iron the other side, or even open it up, refold the other way and iron it again, depending on how thick the material is. Make sure you don’t iron over the edges unless you want a line running down your cover.
How to iron a shirt
Whether you’re ironing a dress shirt, work shirt, school shirt or blouse, the method is pretty much the same:
- Unbutton the cuffs, lay them flat and iron them.
- Place one arm of the sleeve on the ironing board and smooth it as flat as possible before ironing from the middle into the armpit. Then iron from the middle down to the cuff. Don’t iron across the edge unless you want a crease. Flip it over to do the other side and then repeat with the other sleeve. (Sleeves are a lot easier to iron with a sleeve board so if you iron a lot of shirts, you might want to invest in one.)
- Flip up the collar and iron from one side to the middle, and then the other side to the middle. Fold it down and iron again if you like it to have that sharp crease.
- Pull the shirt over the end of the board, so you can iron the yoke.
- Lay the shirt on the board so the buttons are facing up. Smooth it flat before ironing. Work the point of your iron between the buttons rather than ironing over the top of them. Repeat with the other front section of your shirt.
- Lay the shirt over the board so that the back of it is facing you and iron it in sections.
- Hang your shirt up as soon as you’ve finished.
How to iron a fitted sheet
It’s easier to make a bed with a fitted sheet, but they’re a bit harder to iron than flat ones (it’s like they give with one corner and take it away with the other). The easiest way to iron a fitted sheet is to do the corners first. First off, fold your sheet in half so that you have two pairs of corners. Stretch one pair over the end of your ironing board and smooth out the wrinkles before ironing. You’ll need to keep pulling at the material so it’s lying flat on the board.
When you’ve done both sets of corners, it’s time to move to the rest of the sheet. Keep it folded to do this and iron it in sections. Depending on the heat you’re using and the thickness of the sheet, you might need to flip it over to do the other side.
You know we said there were few things more irritating than finding a stain on something you’ve just ironed? Well, we reckon ironing something only for it to get recreased in the cupboard, is one of those things. So check out our wonderful wardrobe hacks to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.